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article imageFlat And Chic: Apple Sets The Trend With New iMac

By Christoph Dernbach     Apr 25, 2002 in Technology
Cool. Simply cool. Most visitors to the Macworld trade show in San Francisco seemed to find their way to these same words - at least when reacting to Apple CEO Steve Jobs' presentation of the newest iMac.
As with the first generation of iMacs, six million of which have been sold since May of 1998, Apple is hoping to again enjoy success through its new designer computer.
The new iMac consists of a small white ball, albeit one stuffed full of valuable high-tech components like the PowerPC G4 chip. A narrow flat monitor is attached to this body via a swinging steel arm, giving the iMac the feel of a designer desk lamp.
Apple has decided to completely forgo normal tube monitors from here on out. The transition to digital flat displays has made the new iMacs more expensive than their predecessors by several hundred dollars though.
Through such consistent design decisions, Apple is hoping to influence more than just the computer industry. Experts expect that the new iMac will inspire designers beyond the field of computers, just like the first iMacs did in 1998. Back then, even clothes irons could be bought in the distinctive iMac design.
In an extraordinary public relations coup, Apple even succeeded at landing its CEO, Steve Jobs, and the new iMac on the cover of Time Magazine before the new computer had even had its official coming out party at the Macworld show. Whether or not all of these laurels will translate into successful sales remains to be seen.
Many computer buyers, particularly in markets such as Europe, tend to pay close attention to the price-to-power ratio of any new machine. They are willing to buy the ugliest machines available (often at retailers supermarkets) as long as the machines pack some power.
Still, even in the United States where the first iMac was a big success, not all designer computers fly off the shelves. Apple's dice-shaped G4 Cube was quickly removed from the market due to low demand. If this new computer turns out to be a flop as well, the Macintosh platform may well be endangered since it now accounts for no more than 2.8 per cent of the world computer market.
At prices between $2,049 to $2,899, Apple is offering three versions of the iMac that seem relatively affordable. The prices are even more attractive, given the extensive software package that is included with the computer, allowing it to serve as a hub for digital cameras, handheld computers and MP3 players.
Everyone is watching whether or not Windows-based PC users will be willing to make the leap to more expensive computers, potentially ending the bitter price wars and helping sooth the PC industry's upset tummy.
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